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Flawless Victory: Munford Volleyball goes perfect in league again

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Volleyball Cecily Gable tipVolleyball Lily Turner spike

Duncan makes a quick set for Lily "Hammer" Turner during the contest at Brighton last week.

Duncan makes a quick set for Lily “Hammer” Turner during the contest at Brighton last week.

Laura Leavell and Jodie Duncan have never lost to a District 13-3A opponent.
In winning three straight regular-season and tournament district champions, the pair of Munford Lady Cougar seniors were one more win away from locking up another unbeaten league volleyball season visiting Brighton Sept. 24.
The host Lady Cardinals pushed the Lady Cougars in all three sets before falling to Munford 25-18, 25-17 and 25-21. The win over Brighton gave Munford another undefeated regular-season District 13-3A title and kept the senior’s record against league foes flawless.
“It kind of feels like the tradition can keep going,” Leavell said. “We don’t take it for granted.”
Duncan said Brighton, Dyer County, Hardin County and former league foe Jackson North Side provided tough challenges over the years pushing Munford to another level.
“They know us about as well as we know ourselves,” she said. “They’re getting better at every practice like we are. So it’s more of a challenge each time we play them.”
It was clear in the Brighton rematch the Lady Cardinals were ready to provide a challenge. The score was tied at 12-12 in the first set. Brighton took the lead in the frame when Lily Hill served an ace to make the score 14-12.
Then her teammate Ali Christmas slammed down a spike that made the score 15-12. Another Hill ace gave the Lady Cardinals a four-point advantage.
The Lady Cougars regrouped to out score Brighton 5-1 to tie the set at 17-17. Munford’s Cecily Gable tied the score with a kill.
From that point the Lady Cougars outscored the Lady Cardinals 8-1 to win the opening set when Lily “Hammer” Turner blocked a Brighton spike attempt at the net.
The second set played out similarly to the first frame with Brighton leading early 8-7. And later in the second set the score was tied twice before Duncan setting Gable on the outside created some breathing room for Munford.
Gable slapped down a spike that made the tally 14-11. Then it was Duncan’s turn to set up “The Hammer.” Turner took quick sets from Duncan in the middle of the net and hammered down a quick spike to make the score 17-13 in favor of Munford.
“It’s fun having a great outside hitter and middle hitter,” Duncan said. “I could go to either one specially in the front row. I can trick the defense, so it’s so much fun.”
The fun continued when Duncan provided another set for Turner to kill making the score 21-16. The final three points of the set came courtesy of a Turner ace, Leavell block a the net and Gable backrow spike to close out the second set at 25-17.
Just a set away from another unbeaten district campaign, it appeared the Lady Cougars would cruise to victory in the third set ahead 16-10. Then the Lady Cardinals staged a comeback to make the score 17-16 in favor of Munford.
That was Turner’s cue to bring back her hammer. The junior scored on another quick-set spike to make the score 18-16. Then Turner used a more sensitive form of scoring hitting a tip over the Brighton defense.
After Gable make the score 20-16 with an ace, Lily scored on a block to making the tally 21-17. But Brighton had some fight left when Charlie Hansen scored on a kill at the net.
With the score 22-19, Leavell got in the scoring act with a spike. Then Gable closed out the match with a pair of spikes to give Munford a four-point victory.
“We just have to pull together as a team,” Leavell said. “We have to do little things like talk and make good passes. And that brings everything together.”
Now in pursuit of another district tournament title, Leavell said winning that championship will put the Lady Cougars in a prime spot to continue another tradition, reaching Sub-State. Since 2007 under the guidance of past Head Coach Mike Anderson and current leader Nina Makris, Munford has played in six consecutive Sectionals reaching State in 2007 and 2010.
“We need to play our game,” Leavell said of trying to advance in the postseason. “Sometimes we play to the level of the competition we’re playing. We would play down if they’re a lower level team. Then sometimes we’ll play up for those good teams.
“We have to stay on our game, if we do that we can go far this year,” she concluded.

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